'Absolutely not good enough': Roadworks wreck residents’ sleep

Port Hills Rd has been resurfaced at night during the past week. Photo: Judy Stack
Port Hills Rd has been resurfaced at night during the past week. Photo: Judy Stack
Sleepless nights and long waiting times.

This is the daily reality for Heathcote residents since February 14, as Port Hills Rd is upgraded nightly from 6pm to 7am.

Although the works are set to be finished by today, residents are frustrated with the lack of consideration and contact from Christchurch City Council about the work.

While they are grateful the road is finally being fixed, residents cannot understand why the work has been occurring at night in a primarily residential area.

Said Heathcote resident Judy Stack: "The contractors are doing a great job, the road was in shocking condition.

"Our beef is that when we go to bed, they begin to start work. The noise is completely intrusive.”

Heathcote Ward city councillor  Sara Templeton understands the residents' frustrations.

Although she has been in touch with the contractors, she said they only have a few shifts left.

"It will be a complete and smooth road by Thursday morning,” she said.

Stack lives in a new house, built after the February 22, 2011, earthquake with double glazing, yet she still hears the construction and it has been making the house shudder, echoing up the valley.

“Why can’t they do the work during the day, reducing the road to a single lane?” she said.

“It is absolutely not good enough that they are doing all this work in the small hours of the morning.”

Photo: Judy Stack
Photo: Judy Stack
Said another Heathcote resident Sue Coombe: “The work shakes the house like an earthquake, it is too disruptive.”

City council streets maintenance manager Mark Pinner said the work was taking place at night instead of the day as a permanent single lane in one direction would have resulted in a large detour which was not considered desirable.

Said Pinner: “To maintain the traffic flow with lights or controls during peak times in daylight would also significantly reduce the time for the physical work to proceed which would in turn result in substantially more time on site. The use of night shifts also lessened the impact to use of access to passengers accessing bus stops.”

Residents, however, say in spite of numerous works occurring along the road after the past few years, this is the first set of night works. They still do not understand the decision.

Last week, Stack rang the city council to see if the situation could be remedied.

A noise abatement officer rang back and said the project manager for the works would be in touch. She never heard back.

Said Stack: “The fact that when you are really impacted by something and you ring the council for help and maybe someone will call you back, does not look good on the council’s behalf.”

Due to another sleepless night, Stack’s young grandson had missed school on Monday.

Ann-Marie Locker is another concerned resident who wonders why the work has to be done at night.

“It’s been absolutely horrendous,” she said.

Her children have both woken up with headaches and have also had two days off school.

Although, every house along the road was meant to be informed about the road works, neither Stack or Locker received a notice in their letterbox.

The notice says: “There will be periods of construction noise and vibration. The contractor will ensure noise is kept to a minimum.”

Stack believes this is ironic after no action has been taken to mitigate the negative effects on residents in spite of her complaint. She said this shows the council does not care.

Work to repair Port Hills Rd began after being deferred since 2017. The wastewater system and water mains were replaced over the past two years and the road is now being resurfaced.

 

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